Sunday, February 1, 2015

Italian Marinated Turkey Burgers with Fresh Mozzarella and Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

Here's the first entry in a project I'm calling Burger Quest. I've been making a lot of burgers in various forms lately and really enjoying the results, so it's time to start documenting them for my own future reference, and hopefully so you can enjoy them too.

Lean ground turkey is (in theory and when properly labeled, at least) a somewhat healthier alternative to ground beef, but when it's overcooked and dry it just becomes a flavorless hockey puck. Marinating helps some, but you still have to be careful or your healthy alternative won't be very satisfying.

A great collection of toppings helps too, and this burger has lots of them: Deli pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, sauteed mushrooms, and roasted red pepper aioli add a lot to this dish.


  • One pound of lean ground turkey (I bought it pre-pattied)
  • 1/2 cup light Italian dressing
  • Four ounces of sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1-2 tbsp hard apple cider or beer (I prefer hard cider) - optional
  • Roughly 12 slices of deli pepperoni
  • Four thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Roasted red pepper aioli (see recipe below)
  • A bun or some lettuce or whatever you're going to use to keep meat and cheese from getting burger all over your hands.
If you didn't buy pre-pattied burgers, divide your ground turkey into four patties, place them in a container you can seal, pour the Italian dressing over them, cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. 

While you're waiting for that, you can make the aioli. 

Aioli ingredients:

  • One red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • A pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 500, line a small oven-safe vessel with foil, put your red pepper on it and place it in the oven. Bake about 20-30 minutes, turning the pepper periodically until it's charred on all sides. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for a bit.

Once the pepper has cooled enough to handle, it should be relatively easy to peel it and remove the stem and seeds. Place the peeled, seedless pepper into a food processor with the mayonnaise, garlic powder and salt and process until smooth.

Saute the mushrooms in a little oil until they're softened. Once they're cooked I like to add a bit of hard cider to deglaze the pan a bit.

Now, for the burgers: Grill them for about 4-5 minutes on medium-high heat or until done (your grill times may vary based on your grill and the thickness of your burgers). When the second side is a minute or two away from being done, put a layer of pepperoni and a slice of the fresh mozzarella on top and cover the grill to trap in the heat and allow the cheese to melt.

Spread some aioli on the bottom of the bun, then add some mushrooms and place the burger, pepperoni and cheese on top. I enjoyed this with some grilled asparagus.

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